SPEECH: BARUNGA FESTIVAL, BARUNGA NT

June 10, 2017

I acknowledge the traditional owners of this Country and pay my respects to each of you.

I also acknowledge each and every one of you who have travelled a long way to be here and to all our younger generation.

I would like to also acknowledge on behalf of Opposition Leader Bill Shorten, Senator Pat Dodson, Linda Burney and the Member for Lingiari, Warren Snowdon; their sincere wishes for this weekend – a safe weekend.

We are all looking forward. There is a great deal of movement. In Yanyuwa we call kujika our song line, our map. We just saw recently on Anangu country the tjukurpa.

The message I just want to share with you all this weekend in particular, is hold on to the spirit of who we are as First Nations People right across this country. That sprit is coming alive now, and it will be here, on this dance ground, where the Barunga dust will be kicked up once again to remind all Australians of a promise of a treaty, of bringing hearts together on this country. I commend all hearts who try to find a way to bring all Australians together.

That movement that is occurring across this country has to be listened to.

There is realignment in this nation that the First Nations voices are not just strong, not just resilient and have not just survived, we are here. Those first nations voices are asking all hearts to realign, to move out of your comfort zone, to remember the spirits of those that have walked before us with great passion, frustration, despair and yet hope so that these young ones, our li-ardabirdi, our children, all these children, the children of Australia have a future which respects in more ways than one the First Nations of this country.